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Capital sets stage for successful fund raiser

Courtesy the Capital Hotel

The Oxford American’s fund-raising event in 2010 showed how versatile the Capital Hotel can be.

The magazine bought out the hotel for an evening that included a reception, a sit-down dinner and an awards presentation honoring actor Morgan Freeman and author Charles Portis for their contributions to Southern culture.

Some 200 guests were welcomed with food and drinks on the hotel’s main floor. They meandered from the bar to the lobby to the restaurant, enjoying different musicians in each area.

Dinner was served at tables for 10 in the two parlors that flank the hotel’s mezzanine. The focus was on a meal of Southern specialties, that OA publisher Warwick Sabin said “was thoughtful in that it represented the true breadth of Southern cuisine.”

Meanwhile, as guests dined, the hotel staff quickly and quietly reset the lobby in theater style, complete with a stage.

The result was a space so warm and welcoming that the awards presentation “felt like a family event,” said Sabin. “People were whooping and hollering and singng along. Morgan Freeman was on stage enjoying it as much as anybody.”

After the formal event, guests were welcomed to mix and mingle in the lobby and bar. Those who wished could book overnight rooms.

The evening achieved Sabin’s hope for an event that would allow guests to mingle and meet one another, as well as the evening’s honorees, in an uncontrived but elegant setting.

“It was a tremendous success,” said Sabin. “We’ve had people tell us it was the best event they had ever attended in Little Rock.”